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Poster: roughyed85 Date: Apr 3, 2008 2:57pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: why not Ornette Coleman? Why this set?

Ornette did not "invent" free jazz. There were plenty of precursors. He took HIS jazz in that direction based on his harmolodic theories. A lot of jazz musicians can't get to grips with harmolodics. Jerry could, that's why Ornette used him on Virgin Beauty. Why should the Dead have a freeform set for Ornette? That's like Jerry telling him he'll only guest on Dead songs. Ornette is like Jerry - he learned a range of styles and had many influences, and he understood other musicians.

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Poster: elbow1126 Date: Apr 3, 2008 6:16pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: why not Ornette Coleman? Why this set?

Hard to say who invented free jazz, however almost every thing i have read or heard about it associate Ornette and Cecil Taylor with this innovation. I admit to be a novice here, having only learned about it when that Ken Burns doc on Jazz came out a few years back. Regardless, my point was that given the dead's history with freeform music and the fact that by 93 space was starting to dominate the second set (i think i saw a 20 min one in 94), it would have been very interesting to include Ornette in that kind set. I do think his playing on Stella is sweet but still would have loved to hear him on a Dark Star.

If you have more info on the history of free jazz, could you tell me where i can find it? thanks.

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Poster: roughyed85 Date: Apr 4, 2008 2:33am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: why not Ornette Coleman? Why this set?

You're right - Ornette was certainly there from the beginning. Eric Dolphy was also developing his own ideas (died in 1964). Coltrane had been moving to freeform for a long time. The trouble was these guys were working musicians, so they had to play in the mainstream. Try playing your own stuff in someone else's band and you were down the road (unpaid)-viz Hendrix with Little Richard. Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor (I'm sure I saw him play with his head at the NSJF!) and Ornette stuck it out. Coltrane recorded My Favourite Things in 1960, when more economically secure. Sonny Rollins and Roland Kirk couldn't afford it.
Thanks to Ornette's persistence the rest is history, and I'm sure you're familiar with the names. I'll single out one - guitarist Sonny Sharrock. He wanted to play like Coltrane, but this was before MIDI. He developed an amazing technique to do this. I don't think anyone has come close. His ex-wife Linda reorded Black Woman with him. At first you're not sure if her vocal style is because she's having sex in the studio or she's harmonising Donna-Jean style (joke, Donna fans). Then you realise it's a vocal version of Coltrane's quartet style. Sharrock quit music till the 80s. I saw him at NSJF with Last Exit (including Shannon Jackson - check out early Vernon Reid with him). Sonny, too, sadly died early. Don't miss his last recording Ask the Ages with freeform vets Elvin Jones and Pharoah Sanders. You can only distinguish the guitar from the sax because there is no MIDI - the techniques are identical.
Thanks for updating me on Dead history (not my strongest point coming from Britain). I really like the drums>space. The 94 Miami version was incredible - sound and light swirling round the auditorium. Not an excuse for a beer and a pee! I'm fascinated by Jerry's "trumpet": it's a real trumpet player's phrasing. Any recommendations would be appreciated.

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Poster: yesss! Date: Apr 3, 2008 9:09pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: why not Ornette Coleman? Why this set?

hey elbow, the wikipedia entry on free jazz is actually a pretty good start...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_jazz